Global Update

Tariff Wars Escalate Between U.S. and China

The tariffs between China and the U.S. escalated in early April, with the U.S. declaring that it intends to hit 1,300 more Chinese products with 25 percent tariffs. Hours later, China retaliated, announcing plans to impose 25-percent tariffs on 106 U.S. exports, worth $50 billion annually.

The U.S.-proposed tariffs on Chinese goods include televisions and motorcycles.

China’s proposed tariffs on U.S. goods include soybeans, automobiles, orange juice and whiskey, as well as primary shapes of pure polyvinyl chloride, or vinyl. That’s the main ingredient in a significant percentage of residential windows around the world, and it represents a growing part of the Chinese window market.

According to a February 2014 report from The Freedonia Group, metal windows accounted for about 60 percent of overall demand in China, but the market for vinyl windows was expected to grew nearly 9 percent a year from 2014-2017. The website Made-in-China.com lists 449 vinyl window manufacturers and suppliers in the country.

According to Ssessments.com, the U.S. is China’s top import PVC supplier. In the first 11 months of 2017, China imported 664,180 tons of PVC from the U.S., accounting for 40 percent of the country’s total import volume.

The White House has said that the proposed tariffs are in response to an investigation into alleged intellectual property infringement by the Chinese.

The tit-for-tat tariffs came days after the Chinese government announced $3 billion in tariffs on U.S. goods, including pork and steel pipes, which came after the U.S. imposed tariffs of 25 percent on steel imports and 10 percent on aluminum imports from all countries. At press time, the list of countries had been narrowed, but still included China.

The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) urged the president to target China specifically.

“We believe the president should focus on China, and we’re unconvinced that these tariffs do a sufficient job,” said AEC president Jeff Henderson after the initial aluminum and steel tariff was imposed. “As far as curtainwall, storefront and doors and windows, I think we’ll be putting companies at a disadvantage by denying them access to global prices of aluminum.”

At press time, it was unclear when the newly proposed tariffs would take effect, but the Chinese Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said in a news conference, “It is time for the U.S. administration to change sides back to the right track, keep real dialogue with the Chinese side. We hope that we can work together.”

New LiSEC Lines Installed at Two Fabricators

Glass 360, a glass fabricator in Queensland, Australia, and OROShazaGLAS Kft., a Hungarian flat glass processor, both recently installed new LiSEC lines.

Glass 360 installed an automatic cutting line with a loading system.

“I was aiming to reinvest into our industry and gain tangible assets in a company with genuine growth potential, founded on quality machinery and superior customer service,” says Phil Norman, CEO of the new company.

His model for Glass 360 called for the installation of machinery and equipment with the capability to deliver maximum automation, accuracy, and efficiencies throughout the manufacturing process.

“For this major long-term investment, we required a machine offering value for money at the reliable end of the scale – we definitely didn’t want knock-offs,” he says

The new line combines cutting for laminated and float glass, complete with a moveable, double-sided loading system with four stations. They chose it due to its ability to meet their immediate and future productions requirements, its comact size, as well as it capacity to handle jumbo sheets up to 3 meters by 6 meters.

Norman completed a risk assessment before purchasing and determined that the automatic loader would reduce crane movement of glass. The specialized lifting arms specified on the breakout table further reduce manual handling concerns, according to their company.

OROShazaGLAS recently invested in its second laminating from LiSEC as well.

“The existing laminating plant had its limitations. First of all, there was a capacity problem. It was too small and we had to operate it in four shifts to keep up with the orders, says Istvan Toth, general director of OROShazaGLAS. “Nevertheless, it remained the bottle-neck of our production and jeopardized delivery times considerably. Moreover, there were too many non-recyclable rejects, which caused a significant loss of money. A third reason was the fact that the production processes was very sensitive—even minor deviations caused problems.”

The new lamination plant has been in operation since December 2016. The system is able to process sheets with a size of up to 5,100 by 2,600 mm and a thickness of up to 100 mm.

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